Celebrity chef Tim Love (@cheftimlove) heard you, and me, and just about everybody else who attended the 2014 Crowne Plaze Invittional at Colonial who was not happy with the concessions, which he ran for the first time.
Although not completely thrilled with some of the things I had written, Love was nice enough to give me some time and answer some questions about what happened.
Tim's opening comment:
As a long term resident and business owner in Fort Worth, being involved in this year's Colonial tournament has been a highlight in my career.
The problems that occurred around the food service this year are squarely on me. Having the benefit of this year's experience, I feel very confident in our ability to apply what we learned from what went right and wrong to create a hospitality experience that is on par with the world class golf tournament that is Colonial.
What went wrong? The unexpected added attendance we started getting large ad-ons to the sky boxes on Wednesday evening. This really threw us for a bit of a loop. When you prepare for 25,000 meals and all of the sudden you need 35,000 it is almost impossible to compensate the way we were set up. All sky box orders are required to be in a month in advance so that we can prepare appropriately. We take into account a 10 percent variance but not 35 percent.
So, quite frankly we did not achieve success on Thursday or Friday. We worked diligently through the night every night starting Wednesday night playing catch up until finally Saturday we caught up.
When did you know this was coming? We knew there was going to be problems as soon as we got the large add ons.
Did you hear the criticism during the tournament, or after?
Yes we heard criticisms (during). Food was late in some sky boxes and did not meet the demands of the increased numbers. We also heard about the big lines at the concession stands, and saw them. We had lots of problems with the credit card machines that really slowed the lines, and the volunteers serving the lines.
We did everything we could to move the lines faster and i think we came up with some good interim solutions by Saturday. As far as hole 13 goes, there were so many people there you couldn't tell if you were in line or just hanging out. We plan to expand that footprint.
Do you get why people were so mad? I completely understand why people were frustrated. If I had to stand in line for 30 minutes for a beer, I would be frustrated too. We have already created a solution for that for next year.
While I can explain myself 10 ways to Sunday, I am not an excuse kind of person. My team put forth every effort they had. We faced some very unexpected challenges, but my challenges should not be the guests challenges. I know that. At the end of the day it is my name on the board and it is my responsibility to make it happen the right way for the guests. That is what we are good at and it is what we do best.
In this particular case I didn't produce that and it is my fault. Nobody else's. On the flip of that we have gotten many compliments on the food especially compared to last year. So, our focus has already been turned to next year and assuring the guest experience will be exponentially better.
We are diligently working with the corporate sponsors to refund money on our mistake while also gathering every bit of info we can to insure next year is a huge success.
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